JAMMU, FEBRUARY 10: Reacting sharply to the news item “Nearly 80% of Schools Lack Enough Subject Teachers” published in a local daily on February 9, 2024, the School Education Department of Jammu and Kashmir has refuted the claims and statistics provided in the news article. It is clarified by the department that there are 18,723 Government Schools in Jammu and Kashmir as of the current date. Out of these, 8,966 are Primary Schools, 7,228 are Upper Primary Schools, 1,741 are High Schools, and 788 are Higher Secondary Schools. A total of 97,116 teachers have been appointed in Government Schools across Jammu and Kashmir to teach from Pre-Primary to Senior Secondary classes.
The recruitment conducted by the Jammu and Kashmir Service Selection Board and the RET Scheme of the Government has not included the hiring or engagement of subject-specific teachers. Instead, general line teachers have been recruited who are capable of teaching Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, and Languages in schools. The Pupil Teacher Ratio (PTR) for Primary Schools is 1:13, for Upper Primary Schools it is 1:9, for Secondary Schools it is 1:14, and for Higher Secondary Schools, it is 1:30, compared to the national PTR of 26, 19, 17, and 27 respectively.
Although some schools in Jammu and Kashmir initially had single teachers, the region has implemented the School Complex system policy mandated under NEP 2020. Under these guidelines, 762 School Complexes have been formed in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir, and teacher rationalization has been carried out at different levels to ensure that no single-teacher schools exist.
The Unified District Information System (UDISE) for School Education launched by the Ministry of School Education includes fields for Science, Maths, Social Studies, and Language Teachers in schools. The data is filled by teachers at the school level to ensure compliance, and the updated UDISE data reflects the availability of more than 90% of teachers in Upper Primary Schools in all subjects.
It is clarified that there is no shortage of teachers in Upper Primary Schools to teach specific subjects. However, subject-specific teachers are recruited at the Higher Secondary level, and there was a deficiency in the beginning of the academic year 2023-24. To address this, the Government has engaged 1,496 Cluster Resource Coordinators, who are subject-specific and have been deployed in remote schools facing teacher shortages.
Additionally, the Government of Jammu and Kashmir is investing approximately 18 crores annually to strengthen libraries in all 18,723 schools from primary to senior secondary level. Efforts are also underway to construct special library rooms, with 617 currently under construction. Regarding infrastructure, efforts are being made to construct concrete ramps in schools without them, and funds have been released for this purpose. Schools with playground facilities are being funded for proper development, while playgrounds have been developed in every Panchayat for schools lacking land.
The School Education Department recently conducted an Annual Transfer Drive, transferring over 13,000 teachers based on the zone formation as per the Transfer Policy. These transfers were made transparently through an online mechanism with a focus on student enrollment and the needs of schools.
Furthermore, the department is committed to enhancing teacher competency through various training programs. Over 40,000 teachers have attended capacity building programs, workshops, orientation, and training programs in 2023-24 under TTAP. The department attributes the 17% increase in enrollment in 2022-23 to improvements in school amenities.
The Government of Jammu and Kashmir is dedicated to overhauling the education system, with over 3,500 civil works completed under SamagraShiksha and an equal number under execution. Additionally, more than 2,000 works are under execution under UT Capex. Model kindergartens are being developed, infrastructure in schools has been improved, and 92% of schools now have their own buildings. For the year 2024-25, the Department of School Education and Literacy, Government of India, has approved a mega plan of Rs. 1,665 crores for the holistic development of children studying in Jammu and Kashmir schools.